Zakir Naik should be extradited to India to face trial


April 17, 2017

Zakir Naik should be extradited to India to face trial

UMNO Malays are a confused lot

COMMENT by Stephen Ng@www.malaysiakini.com

The 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) scandal has already turned Malaysia into a nation of kleptocrats and somewhat of a rogue nation in the eyes of the world.

In the United States, this is by and large the biggest case of money-laundering that the country has ever seen, considering that the US has existed since 1786. The latest that we have learnt is that they are now filing criminal charges against Jho Low.

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Prime Minister Najib Razak’s Arab Philanthropist, not the King of Saudi Arabia. US Department of Justice will bring Jho Low to trial for moneylaundering

According to The Wall Street Journal, Low, a Malaysian who is a close associate of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, is now a major suspect in a money-laundering case involving 1MDB. He is also a person of interest in Singapore.

The money-laundering scandal is being investigated in a number of countries, including Singapore and Switzerland, and although the major scandal happened with a Malaysian investment arm under the Finance Ministry, to date, no one has been prosecuted.

This has put us in a very tight situation. While we are talking about North Korea as a rogue nation because they have yet to return the four suspects in the murder of Kim Jong-nam, we are no better.

Interpol red alert

Although an Interpol red alert has been sought against Zakir Naik under a non-bailable warrant issued by Mumbai’s Prevention of Money Laundering Act court, no action has been taken to repatriate him back to India.

This has placed Zakir as a prime suspect in some major money-laundering. And, instead of going back to India to contend his case in court, the defiant preacher accused the Indian authorities of having “double motives”.

Malaysians should not be duped by Zakir’s argument that he had offered India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) an interview through video-conferencing or phone. No authorities would agree to that.

By remaining here in Malaysia (or elsewhere), Zakir is putting more strain on the country’s reputation. Certainly, he does not care as long as he has a place to escape, but it does not go well on his own reputation.

If he has done nothing wrong, he should surrender himself to the Indian authorities and request for the interview to be recorded or observed through glass windows by his lawyers. His defiance puts Zakir in a bad light.

Unless he has something to hide, he should not be afraid to face the NIA. The NIA would not have applied for the Interpol red alert unless they have obtained solid evidence against Zakir.

Image result for Chief Mufti of Perlis and Zakir Naik

Deputy Prime Minister Zahid Hamidi hopes Zakir Naik can save him from Najib Razak’s political axe.  Hindraf’s P Waythamoorthy takes a strong stand for the neglected Indian Community. Shame on the MIC Leadership. No ‘Nambikei’.

Look at the US Department of Justice. It took time for them to finally arrive at a decision to file criminal charges against Low. The time will come when the long arm of the law will catch up with Zakir. Zakir will have to eventually face the law, whether now or later.

Fugitives have no credibility

Zakir can continue living as a fugitive, but whatever he preaches will no longer hold water. We are talking common sense, and there is no attempt to belittle any religion. This is a case involving someone who is being pursued by the Indian authorities.

On the back of everyone’s mind is: “Why is this man running away from the authorities? Is he involved in money-laundering? Why is he allowed to settle down in Malaysia? Was he also involved either directly or indirectly with the attack on the Artisan Bakery in Gulshan Thana in Dhaka, where 29 people were killed?”

There are only two options for Zakir. Either he continues to live in Malaysia and remain a fugitive, or he to returns to India to face the law enforcers if he believes that he is not guilty of the charges against him – which I think is more honourable for him. There is a Malay saying, “Berani kerana benar” (Be brave because you are right).

I am sure that the Indian authorities would be professional about it and they would record the interview on video; in fact, they would be equally concerned that Zakir turned around and complained of ill-treatment during the interrogation.

As long as Zakir remains in Malaysia, he will drag Malaysia further down. At the back of the minds of the Indian community in this country, it appears that a fugitive is given better protection than the local Indians.

Image result for Corrupt and Lying Najib RazakReally, Prime Minister Najib Razak? You sold Malaysia and hoodwinked Malaysians. And you are about to do it again in GE-14

I wish to quote from Hindraf’s chair, P Waythamoorthy, who had once trusted Najib during the lead up to the last general election.

Waythamoorthy wrote: “This new plan to launch a new Malaysian Indian Blueprint on April 23 is nothing but to hoodwink the Indians. Najib, enough is enough! Your public apology to the Indians for their four decades of neglect under BN on April 18, 2013, is still fresh in the minds of Indians.

“You and your UMNO and MIC Ministers have cheated the Indians with your ‘Nambikei’ slogan. Hindraf worked hard to deliver the Indian votes in the earnest belief of finding a permanent and comprehensive solution to the problems faced by the downtrodden.”

Waythamoorthy’s statement is very clear. And by Hindraf’s court case against Zakir, it means that BN will lose more Indian votes this time by protecting Zakir, a foreigner and a wanted person in his own country.


STEPHEN NG is an ordinary citizen with an avid interest in following political developments in the country since 2008.

Prime Minister Najib Razak : Time for Pro-Government BN social activists to attack


April 16, 2017

Prime Minister Najib Razak : Time for Pro-Government BN social activists to attack

by FMT Reporters@www.freemalaysiatoday.com

Good Luck to these Ampu Social : Fighting a Lost Cause

Prime Minister Najib Razak said it is time for pro-government Barisan Nasional (BN) social media activists to go on the offensive in cyberspace to defend the government and help them retain Putrajaya.

The Prime Minister said he was confident of the role played by pro-BN government activists as they wanted to be seen as nationalists in the new battlefield.

“We have long been in defensive mode. Enough. It is now time to attack!” Najib said in a post on his blog (below) titled “2017 Social Media Activists Assembly”.

Najib said today’s battlefields had changed and were no longer physical or face-to-face but in cyberspace. He gave the example of the previous general election in which the BN government was exposed to attacks without any cyber army to retaliate, but today many activists are loyal cyber commanders ready to fight for BN government policies.

The Prime Minister, however, reminded all social activists to hold on to three basic principles in the battle.Firstly, he said they needed to avoid internal feuds among themselves and to be committed in the struggle to uphold the BN government.

Secondly, to expand the cyber network so that messages were delivered to the people more effectively. The third principle was that they should learn from what happened in the previous general election.

“We must ward off in our responses and not to be trapped as happened on polling day in the 13th general election in which the opposition disseminated false news that we were bringing in voters from Bangladesh to vote and that we created blackouts in certain places to manipulate votes. All these stories were preposterous but many were taken in by such news which did affect voters and the election,” he said.

Najib said he expected the opposition to use the same dirty tactics in the next general election as the opposition believed, “If you cannot convince them (voters), confuse them”.

The dirty tactics of the Opposition, he said clearly showed that if they could not sway voters with their empty or sweet promises, their modus operandi was to confuse the people and create disbelief and anger against the BN government.

The Prime Minister described pro-BN government activists as loyal commanders in cyberspace who would readily defend BN policies and repel all lies played up by the opposition. “Insya-Allah with such a fighting spirit and unity, we can obtain a bigger win in the 14th general election and Putrajaya will remain in the hands of Barisan Nasional,” he said.

Himpunan Aktivis Media Sosial 2017

by Najib Razak@ najibrazak.com

Image result for Najib Razak the liarNo One can help erase this perception

Malam semalam amat bermakna bagi saya kerana dapat berjumpa, berhimpun dan bergaul bersama aktivis media sosial pro Kerajaan Barisan Nasional.

Mereka ini bukanlah calang-calang orangnya, mereka ini panglima di alam maya yang begitu setia mempertahankan dasar Kerajaan Barisan Nasional, mempertahankan maruah parti dan membidas segala pembohongan yang giat dipermainkan oleh pembangkang sejak sekian lama.

Saya berkeyakinan tinggi para aktivis media sosial kita ini juga, akan terus memainkan peranan mempertahankan Kerajaan dan membantu mengekalkan Barisan Nasional di Putrajaya.

Ini semua kerana mereka, seperti saya dan jutaan rakyat Malaysia lagi, percaya bahawa di bumi Malaysia ini tidak ada pilihan yang lebih baik daripada Barisan Nasional.

Saya mahu para aktivis media sosial kita juga ada kepercayaan diri dan melihat bahawa anda semua bukan sekadar aktivis tetapi adalah pejuang nasionalis.

Medan perang (Battlefield) kita hari ini sudah berubah, tidak lagi dalam bentuk fizikal atau face to face tetapi alam maya atau ruang siber adalah medan perang yang baru. Jika kita imbas kembali apa yang berlaku dalam dua Pilihanraya Umum dahulu, Kerajaan Barisan Nasional terdedah kepada serangan tanpa ada bala tentera yang boleh menangkis serangan tersebut.

Tetapi hari ini, saya lihat bahawa sudah ada penambahbaikan dan kita telah berjaya menghimpunkan ramai aktivis media sosial, panglima-panglima alam maya kita yang setia bersama Barisan Nasional, yang tetap percaya kepada perjuangan dan dasar kita.

Namun, dalam kita berjuang bersama-sama menghala ke medan perang, sudah tentu ada prinsip asas yang perlu kita gariskan dan praktikkan.

Pertama, saya menyeru kepada semua untuk mengelakkan pertelagahan sesama sendiri. Kita mesti komited kepada perjuangan secara bersama, berjuang menegakkan Kerajaan Barisan Nasional.

Kedua, kita mesti memperluaskan lagi rangkaian alam maya kita. Kita perlu tentukan kandungan dan mesej kita kepada rakyat dan berkongsi maklumat sesama kita agar ia dapat disebarkan dengan lebih meluas dan lebih berkesan lagi.

Kita mesti berusaha berkomunikasi dengan influencers dalam pelbagai bidang dan membina rangkaian kita agar mereka juga terlibat bersama dengan kita.

Ketiga dan yang terakhir sekali, amanat saya kepada semua adalah kita perlu belajar daripada apa yang berlaku dalam Pilihanraya Umum dahulu.

Kita mesti tangkas dalam respons kita dan tidak terperangkap, sepertimana yang berlaku pada hari mengundi dalam Pilihanraya Umum Ke-13 di mana pembangkang telah menyebarkan berita palsu mengenai kononnya kita membawa masuk pengundi Bangladesh untuk mengundi, bahawa kononnya kita mewujudkan keadaan blackout di tempat tertentu untuk memanipulasi undi.

Cerita ini semua langsung tidak masuk akal, tetapi ramai terpedaya dengan berita ini yang sedikit sebanyak membawa kesan kepada pengundi dan pilihan raya itu sendiri.

Saya jangkakan bahawa dalam Pilihanraya Umum yang akan datang, pembangkang akan kembali menggunakan taktik kotor serupa, melontarkan sesuatu yang tak terfikir oleh kita nanti untuk membuatkan orang marah dan benci pada kita.

Ingatlah bahawa pembangkang hanya berpegang kepada satu prinsip sahaja iaitu “If you cannot convince them, confuse them”.

Taktik kotor mereka amat jelas, jika mereka tidak dapat meyakinkan pengundi agar mempercayai janji-janji kosong atau kata-kata manis mereka, modus operandi mereka adalah untuk mengelirukan rakyat agar menimbulkan ketidakpercayaan serta kemarahan terhadap Kerajaan Barisan Nasional.

Kita sudah lama berada dalam ‘defensive mode’. Cukuplah. It is now time to attack ! Insya-Allah, dengan semangat juang dan kesepaduan sesama kita, kita mampu peroleh kejayaan besar dalam PRU 14, dan Putrajaya akan kekal milik Barisan Nasional !

 

RUU355 Circus –The Political Game Najib Razak plays


April 4, 2017

RUU355 Circus –The political game pyromaniac Najib Razak plays

by Dr. M. Bakri Musa@Morgan-Hill, California

Image result for Najib's Political Game

Does this circus clown understand what he means–He has, in fact, destroyed everything Malaysia has achieved over nearly 60 years (since 1957) in his  wake.

If I were a non-Malay, I would support RUU355 with unrestrained enthusiasm…As a Malay however, I am terrified at this crude fascistic attempt to make Islam an instrument for repression. It pains me to see my faith debased as a political and social tool to control the ummah. Greatness can never emerge from a controlled and repressed society. Islam thrives only when there is freedom and justice. Oppression promotes neither.–Dr. M. Bakri Musa

Many applaud Prime Minister Najib’s recent U-turn on RUU355, the legislative amendment to “strengthen” the Syariah. That circus, which is far from over, exposes Najib’s mischief and vulnerability. Lauding him for withdrawing the government’s sponsorship of that bill is akin to praising a pyromaniac who had tried to start a fire but failed. Najib should be condemned, not praised, for his dangerous game of stirring religious discord.

Image result for Najib's Political Game

Two Malaysian Clowns with a Mad-Cap Indian Mullah

Whenever Islam enters the discourse in Malaysia, all rational discussions evaporate. Leaders and followers, Muslims and non-Muslims alike, descent with gusto into the gutter of religious and underlying racial bigotry. I would have thought that such a realization would have cautioned leaders to be more circumspect when treading on matters religious. On the contrary, as revealed by Najib’s latest and very crude mischief, they are only too eager to fan the fire.

Image result for Najib's Corrupt Malaysia

With over 60 years of a corrupt and incompetent UMNO-led administration, Malaysia is littered with debris and garbage, literal as well as figurative. Any idiot with a matchstick could start a conflagration with ease. Imagine a mischievous one, if Malaysians let it be. It is time to grab the matchstick away from Najib’s reach.

RUU355 began as PAS Hadi Awang’s private member’s bill. Clueless on matters of statecraft, PAS leaders, well exemplified by Hadi, resort to simplistic and gimmicky maneuvers, as with introducing “Islamic laws” and making Malaysia an “Islamic state.”

For his part, Najib was desperate to be seen as a latter-day Malay hero championing syariah. He also sensed an opportunity to create mischief by driving a wedge in the opposition coalition; hence his over eagerness to take over the bill’s sponsorship. Later, caught and surprised by the unanticipated strong opposition from the now emboldened non-UMNO Barisan partners, specifically from Sarawak, Najib was forced to backtrack.

Clever only by half, Najib now finds himself on the unfamiliar terrain of having to make difficult choices. He opted for throwing PAS under the bus, hoping that his support among conservative Malays would not be too adversely affected. The risk of losing his crucial Sarawak partners, and with that the fall of his government, was much greater and more immediate. Earlier, Najib had hoped to endear himself to PAS followers and entice their party away from the opposition in time for the next election.

Image result for Sarawakians must remember Adenan SatemIn respectful memory of Adenan Satem and a stark reminder to his successor and Fellow Malaysians in Sarawak. Embrace Najib Razak at your own peril since he will destroy harmony with his Islamism and embrace of Zakir Naik and Hadi Awang

With Najib’s vulnerability now exposed, expect more challenges and shifts in the wind, and for him to be jerked around like a yoyo. It would be quite a sight! As for PAS, it is but the flighty woman jilted by her hitherto ardent suitor and now not welcomed by her previous partner. Not a pretty sight for a far-from-pretty old maid.

For Malaysians, the choice is simple. Deny Najib the privilege of leading Malaysia. Snatch the matchstick away from him.

If I were a non-Malay, I would support RUU355 with unrestrained enthusiasm. I would do likewise for all Islam-centric legislations, including the introduction of hudud. My assertion here is not meant to shock or raise eyebrows, nor is it a clumsy attempt at sarcasm or literary spoof, rather a matter of pragmatism if not blatant opportunism.

As a Malay, however, I am terrified at this crude fascistic attempt to make Islam an instrument for repression. It pains me to see my faith debased as a political and social tool to control the ummah. Greatness can never emerge from a controlled and repressed society. Islam thrives only when there is freedom and justice. Oppression promotes neither.

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Perlis Mufti who is a Fan of Qutbist Zakir Naik

Our ulamas and scholars have failed us here. They they have subverted what should be a political debate into a test of our faith. Oppose RUU355 and you are destined for Hell! How infantile!

There are many reasons (most are selfish and self-serving) why non-Malays should support the expansion of Islamic institutions. One benign rationale would be not to interfere with the wishes of the majority (Malays), as long as those do not impact you adversely. The constitution protects and spares non-Muslims from hudud. You could say that they do not “deserve” such divinely-derived laws!

Image result for harussani zakaria

Malaysia’s Political Ulamas

Non-Muslims should for example, push for public executions and whippings, following Afghanistan’s example. Turn those into revenue-producing events, with “premium” front-row seats commanding hefty prices, and market them as showcasing the “beauty” and “superiority” of Islamic laws.

Sell ads to whip and sword manufacturers, much like oil companies advertise at Formula One races. Such public executions and whippings could rival major spectator events like boxing to draw foreign tourists.

It is also in the self-interest of non-Muslims to encourage Malays to be obsessed and consumed with matters religious and the pursuit of the Hereafter. With more young Malays preoccupied with studying revealed knowledge and prophetic traditions, there would be that much fewer to pursue STEM. Meaning, less competition for non-Malays wishing to become doctors, scientists and engineers.

With young Malays opting for Al Azhar and Pakistani madrasahs, there would be less competition among Malaysians aspiring for Oxford and Harvard. Not that our community is a formidable competitor on that front.

For non-Muslim politicians, embracing pro-Islam postures would be a sure way into the hearts of Malays and capturing their votes. Those politicians would become instant darlings of the Malay community, fast eclipsing the likes of that mualaf Ridhaun Tee, and without having to change your name or religion. You don’t have to suck up to UMNO or PAS politicians either! All you have to do is don white kopiah (or hijab, for a woman) at Muslim functions, and of course support RUU355 and similar legislations.

Non-Malays should be heartened that the Padang Merbok pro-RUU355 rally drew thousands; overwhelmingly Malays. It went well past midnight. Not even the early evening rain dampened the mood. They came from as far north as Perlis and Kelantan, giddy with the excitement of doing God’s work, as they had been led to believe.

Imagine the acres of paddy fields not tilled that day and the next, the thousands of rubber trees not tapped, and hundreds of fishing boats idle in port. You do not need to be an economist to see the impact; all negative. Or perhaps it was minimal as they were marginal participants in the modern Malaysian economy, consumed as they were with the Hereafter.

As one of the few non-Malays present at that rally noted, the only non-Muslims affected by RUU355 would be casino operators. Few, Muslims or non-Muslims, have sympathy for them.

I compliment that the non-Malay for his deep understanding of Malay culture and values. It is a sad commentary that individuals like him are a rarity today. Not so a few generations ago.

Following the failed Malayan Union, a coalition of populist Malay organizations under PUTERA, together with the primarily non-Malay trade union group AMCJA, put forth a proposal for self-rule.

A central feature of that proposal would have liberalized conditions for citizenship. The leftist Malay leaders in PUTERA enthusiastically embraced that simply because those new citizens would be called Melayu, not Malayans. Non-Malays, being pragmatic, too accepted that. They could not care less about the label as long as they were granted citizenship.

Malays were easily seduced into relaxing the citizenship requirements in return for the Melayu label. Never mind that those would-be culup Melayus were not Muslims and could not speak Malay or give a hoot about Malay mores and customs!

Thank God the British rejected the PUTERA/AMCJA idea and instead imposed the Federation Agreement.

To Malays, the label is all important. Do what you want with the content, in line with our culture’s premium on peragga (appearance). It was true then and it is even more true today. Label something as Islamic or hudud, and Malays would swallow it without question. Likewise, anything from the land of the Prophet is holy. Even the flies in Mecca are hallal! It is not a surprise that Najib’s receiving millions from a Saudi sheik be viewed as borkat (divine bounty) by Malays and not, as the rest of the world sees it, blatant corruption.

Two centuries ago the British nearly succeeded in destroying the Chinese civilization by giving the masses what they craved for–opium. In the process the Brits made tons of money and controlled China. The Chinese elite, from the emperor down to the mandarins, were aware of the dangers opium posed but they could not prevail against the mighty British.

With Malays on the other hand, our leaders are the biggest pushers of the metaphorical opium. Non-Malays should let that be and let Malays be narcotized. Then like the British in China of yore, non-Malays could control the economy and country even more. If Malays were to complain or be resentful, flatter them that a much bigger and better reward awaits them in the Hereafter.

That however is a distracting issue. The key conclusion from Najib’s latest U-turn on RUU355 is that he and the party he leads are now vulnerable. Najib is floundering. As any boxer will tell you, that is the best time to knock your opponent out.

Confused Conservatives


March 26, 2017

Confused Conservatives

by Scott Ng@www.freemalaysiatoday.com

Image result for Confused Conservatives

As the West continues its struggle with hard right extremists, Malaysians have perhaps looked at the most powerful country in the world and felt a chill of déjà vu. We’ve had plenty of experience with contradictory statements from our public officials, our messy bureaucracy and a childish administration that seems to exist in its own deluded reality.

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The doublespeak and the inflammatory rhetoric of Donald Trump’s administration in the face of criticism is eerily reminiscent of what we go through in Malaysia on a regular basis, and perhaps it is time too to look at the resurgence of right-wing rhetoric around us.

Conservatism takes many forms, but we’re concerned here with social conservatives, who of late have earned for themselves a black name in the United States for their disregard of boundaries in their determination to win the culture war. In the highly charged protest against the withdrawal of tax exemptions from racist Christian colleges, we cannot fail to see that the festering heart of the movement was always just below the surface.

But what of Malaysia, where conservatism has been a way of life for the better part of our history since independence?

Image result for Najib Razak --The Racist

Malaysian conservatism has long revolved around the “Malay way of life”, which ostensibly revolves around the culture and customs of the Malays, but has evolved in recent decades into one centred on a strict and punitive version of Islam. And thus, in recent years, we’ve been watching a race among various groups to see which can be more conservative than the others.

When NGOs can say barefacedly that non-Malays and non-Muslims must pay taxes but accept being exiled from the administrative process of the country, one must wonder if we have reached peak conservatism – in other words, the rock bottom. Add to that the inflammatory rhetoric that states that Chinese Malaysians are intruders originally brought in by the British to oppress the Malays, and one has to wonder if the situation is absolutely hopeless.

Conservatism’s biggest weakness has always been the assuredness of its own righteousness, and as it has slid further to the right, those pronunciations of religious privilege become ever louder. One suspects even the conservatives know that loud noises are needed to obscure the shakiness of their positions.

Much like Trump’s self-contradicting evangelical Christian support, conservatives are far too often willing to ignore logical fallacies and ideological inconsistencies to ensure that their message makes its way out into the mainstream. Conservative commentators in the US have observed this phenomenon and have made much of the battle for the Christian soul that Trump’s election represented. That battle was obviously lost and has resulted in the America we see today.

Modern Malaysian conservatism does not lie at a crossroads. It continues down that same path it was set on by those who claimed to succeed Tunku Abdul Rahman’s spirit, absorbing and distorting the narrative in its favour every step of the way. At which point will it be time for self-reflection? Without that moment of clarity, the fear that things will never improve becomes one that is too close to the skin.

Scott Ng is an FMT columnist.

Gauging The Hudud Thing in Malaysia


March 14, 2017

Gauging The Hudud Thing in Malaysia–Political Islamism out of UMNO’s desperation

by Rashaad Ali

http://www.eastasiaforum.org/2017/03/08/gauging-support-for-islamic-law-in-malaysia/

Image result for The Hudud Thing in UMNO's Malaysia

The Desperate Godfathers of Hududism in Malaysia–UMNO’s Najib Razak and PAS’Hadi Awang

The 18 February 2017 rallies both for and against the bill to amend the 1965 Criminal Jurisdiction Act, known as RUU 355, have opened yet another political and social schism in Malaysian society. RUU 355 began as a private member’s bill by the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party’s (PAS) President Hadi Awang and seeks to raise the penalties for certain crimes that fall under the jurisdiction of sharia courts in Malaysia.

Public opinion appears divided on the issue, as the continued politicisation of religion takes precedence over authentic religious debate on the matter. Some see the bill as a facade for the eventual entry of hudud — Islamic — laws into the country. PAS held the rally in support of the bill, which drew a reported 20,000 people, while the counter rally was organised by the non-governmental organisation Bebas and drew a much more modest crowd of around 200.

Image result for ruu 355

Hudud –The  Political Hypocrisy of  It All

Support for the bill is significant enough. Various surveys, including one conducted recently amongst university students, indicate Malay-Muslim support for the amendment and for the implementation of Islamic laws. The pro-RUU 355 rally emphasises this and the numbers indicate some level of moderate success for PAS — mobilising 20,000 odd people for a rally is no small feat.

But as the subject of this bill is central to the party’s aims, larger numbers could have been expected. This suggests a difficulty in appealing to urban folk and that mobilised supporters from other, more remote parts of the country account for the majority of the turnout.

Image result for zaid ibrahim dapThis Guy does not  know where he is coming or going in Malaysian Politics–UMNO to PKR to DAP and what next?

The counter rally, held at the same time but at a different location to the PAS gathering, better demonstrates the mood regarding the bill. While the opposition Democratic Action Party (DAP) was critical of the bill when it was first announced, it eventually distanced itself from the counter rally completely. The only DAP name who attended was Zaid Ibrahim, and that was in his individual capacity rather than as a party member.

The DAP’s absence is unsurprising as the issue puts it in a difficult position: the DAP may not support the bill, but attending the counter rally would cement the perception that they are an anti-Malay and anti-Muslim party. The discourse surrounding this issue has been very black and white; support for the bill is seen as a Muslim’s religious duty, while opposition to it is deemed vehemently anti-Islamic.

The general public’s low attendance at the counter rally suggests that the issue was not significant enough to take to the streets in numbers. For Malay-Muslims, the fear of reprisal for attending a rally seen as anti-Islamic is a significant factor in keeping people away. It appears easier for the pro-RU 355 rally to draw Malays, as the narrative is more populist, keeps with a conservative Islamic position and is supported by major Malay parties like the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) and PAS.

As for non-Muslim participation, it appears this issue is neither relevant nor attractive enough to drag would-be participants out of bed in the morning. They can hardly be blamed as many voices from the pro-RU 355 camp constantly state that the amendment will not affect non-Muslims.

Although this amendment does not mean that non-Muslims are suddenly going to be tried under sharia law, having two legal systems for two different groups of people brings the notion of equality before the law into question. For a multicultural country that should seek to be inclusive instead of exclusive, these amendments are not helpful, especially when considering the knock-on effect it will have on the country as a whole.

Past cases of overlapping jurisdiction between sharia and civil courts, such as conversion cases or burial rights of non-Muslims indicate that the separation of the courts is not clearly defined. While the bill aims to raise the penalties for certain crimes under sharia law such as murder and theft, some constitutional experts argue that these crimes fall strictly under the purview of federal, not sharia, law. This bill exacerbates an already highly polarised society divided along racial and religious lines.

It is also another episode in the overall Islamisation trend happening in Malaysia that directly and indirectly affects all groups in society. Various incidents in the past few years point to how religious relations in the country can easily sour. A church was forced to take down its cross display in 2015, there have been recent issues with the usage and distribution of paint brushes containing pig bristles and there is now moral policing of dress code at government buildings.

The issue is complicated further because it is primarily for political rather than religious purposes. Putting aside PAS’ ambition to see this through, the bill is an obvious affirmation of the party’s own religious credentials. In the current climate, this helps to regain the trust of its core supporters, which also explains why the UMNO has jumped on the bill’s bandwagon. It helps the UMNO bolster its image at a time when the administration has suffered a dip in popularity. The timing of this issue is also convenient, as elections are due to be held by 2018.

As it stands, it would not be surprising if the bill passes next month when it comes to parliament. Opposition members who oppose the bill are likely to be absent from the vote for fear of being branded anti-Islamic. If the amendment passes, the biggest concern is whether it will worsen existing racial and religious polarisation in the country. Given the political dimension of the bill and the looming general election, a more inclusive Malaysia is not yet on the horizon.

Rashaad Ali is a research analyst with the Malaysia Programme at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

This article was first published here on RSIS.

 

 

Universiti Malaya: Nip Racism in the bud and clear your name


February 26, 2017

Universiti Malaya: Nip Racism in the bud and clear your name

by Mariam Mokhtar@www.freemalaysiatoday.com

In deciding to investigate an allegation of racism against one of its associate professors, Universiti Malaya gives itself an opportunity to prove to the Malaysian public that it upholds a high standard of decency.

We await the findings of the five-member investigation panel and the university’s follow-up action. However, one wonders whether Universiti Malaya would have bothered to look into the matter if it hadn’t received a directive from the Education Ministry. Indeed, it did not have to wait for the directive. It should have maintained an alertness to issues that might affect its reputation and it should act speedily.

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The allegation came in a Facebook posting by a student. The article, titled “Voice of an Indian student”, has gone viral.

The student said the lecturer, in reprimanding her and another student, dispensed with the courtesy of calling them by their names and instead called them “India”.

Here, in brief, is the story according to the Facebook posting:

The lecturer said, “India, I don’t like Indians sitting together.” After making a disparaging remark about a private university, she added: “When Indians sit together, they will plagiarise and copy one another’s assignments. I recognise Indian traits.”

The abuse continued. She pointed to the student and her friend and told them to sit separately, saying, “I will ensure that the two of you will not be in the same group for your assignment. I know what Indians are like.”

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This Ikan Bakar Man–Jamal Yunus– is a racist. Najib and UMNO support him and so Najib is a racist and UMNO is a racist political party. Q.E.D.

Then she insulted the other Indian students in the class. She made no excuses for her behaviour and said she did not mind if no one promoted Universiti Malaya because she preferred to teach smaller classes.

So, is this what you learn in a top Malaysian university – racism, intolerance, rudeness, insensitivity? When asked for his reaction, one postgraduate student said, “Academicians in Malaysian public universities should uphold a high standard of ethics. Making stereotypical racist comments against students is very unbecoming and reflects badly on the university and the degrees it confers.”

The student who wrote the complaint has demanded an apology from the lecturer.

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The Fun Loving but Insecure Malays

An apology to the direct victims of the insult is not enough, if the lecturer is indeed guilty. She should apologise to the public and the apology should be published in all the mainstream papers. And Universiti Malaya must sack her.